Cover image for Jubela
Kessler, Cristina.
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
New York : Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers, [2001]

Physical Description:
32 unnumbered pages : color illustrations ; 24 cm
When a baby rhino loses his mother, he must rely on his own resources to survive until he is adopted by an old female rhino.
Reading Level:
AD 440 Lexile.
Program Information:
Accelerated Reader AR LG 3.5 0.5 43517.

Reading Counts RC K-2 3.1 2 Quiz: 25385 Guided reading level: N.
Geographic Term:
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
PIC.BK. Juvenile Fiction Central Closed Stacks
PIC.BK. Juvenile Fiction Picture Books

On Order



Baby rhino played.He tossed and turned,squiggled and squirmedin the cooling mud.His mother,huge head hung low,grazed nearbyto protect her baby.But shots ring out, and suddenly, baby rhino Jubela must face the world on his own. He roams the plain until an old female rhino adopts him. Once again Jubela can feel secure.Based on a true story from Swaziland, Jubela is a heartwarming story of love and a stirring wake-up call to protect our wildlife.

Reviews 3

Booklist Review

Ages 4^-8. Based on a true story of a baby rhinoceros in Swaziland, southern Africa, this picture book makes a plea for conservation of an endangered species. The baby rhino sees his mother collapse and die after they run from shots in the night. For days he survives, hot and very hungry, alone and afraid, running from the smell of humans. Passing elephants ignore him. Galloping zebra leave him behind. Then he smells something familiar, and he finds an old mother rhino. She adopts him and teaches him to graze and to run from the scent of humans. The plain, physical words ("Old mother rhino's breathing / filled the darkness, and her huge body, nestled so close") stay true to the baby rhino's viewpoint, and so do the large, handsome pastel illustrations, which capture the sweep of the savanna from dawn to dusk with realistic close-ups of the rhinos and other animals that live there. --Hazel Rochman

Publisher's Weekly Review

Mali-based writer and photographer Kessler takes the bare bones of a true storyDbased on an occurrence in Swaziland, as she explains in an afterwordDand fleshes them out beautifully. Orphaned after a poacher shoots his mother, a baby rhino must survive alone on the African savanna until an older female adopts him. From lyrical descriptions ("sunlight surrendered to darkness") to vigorous passages ("his clumsy feet kicked stones aside as he thrashed through the thicket"), Kessler's prose effectively distills the drama of the events for a picture book audience and wins sympathy for the baby's plight without anthropomorphizing the animals involved. Stammen (If You Were Born a Kitten) bathes her spare but expansive pastel vistas in luxurious light, from the intense African noon that bleaches the color from the landscape, to the long, slanting rays of twilight and the purple and orange glory of a sunset. Her effective use of silhouetted imagesDthe baby rhino alone in the darkness, for instanceDunderscores the poignancy of his situation. Ages 4-8. (Mar.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

School Library Journal Review

K-Gr 4-The bare bones of this Swaziland story are the experiences of a baby rhino whose mother is shot, as he suffers fear, hunger, thirst, and exhaustion until he chances upon an elderly lone female that adopts him. What makes the book both exquisite and heartbreaking is the combination of beautifully, but simply expressed, poetic prose that demonstrates a deep understanding of the orphaned calf and sensitive, skillful illustrations that show both the poignancy of little Jubela's sorrow and bewilderment and the vibrancy of African plains life. Using color and a variety of perspectives creatively, the page-and-a-half spreads enhance the text and reflect its moods. In a soft but realistic technique, the artist pictures the baby lolling happily in a mud hole on a sunny grassland while his mother watches benignly and then their mad flight through a dark blue night to escape the hunters. A pale blue dawn follows and finds the orphan crouching by his dead mother's side. Jubela then wanders alone, passing herds of zebras, impalas, and elephants, until he finds a foster mother. The message is clear but presented tenderly, not stridently. All people who care about their fellow creatures will find a powerful lesson here.-Patricia Pearl Dole, formerly at First Presbyterian School, Martinsville, VA (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.